Virgil’s Arm Flapping in the Breeze

Virgil's Arm
Illustration by Bob Boze Bell

On the night of December 28, 1881, City Marshal Virgil Earp was ambushed and hit with buckshot crossing the intersection of Fifth and Allen Streets in Tombstone. His left arm was shattered and doctors had to saw off his elbow, and up his arm, sans elbow, so that his arm hung limp without a bone connection. The tough old lawman got around fine. In fact, in 1887 Virgil joined a Tombstone posse looking for train robbers. He freaked out a Mexican tracker when an early morning gallop showcased Virgil’s lack of an elbow joint, his arm flailing in all directions. Everyone had a good laugh about that one.

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Bob Boze Bell

In 1999, Bob Boze Bell and partners bought True West magazine (published since 1953) and moved the editorial offices to Cave Creek, Arizona. Bell has published and illustrated books on Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, as well as Classic Gunfights, an Old West gunfight book series. His latest books are The 66 Kid and True West Moments.